Sam Wadham


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Possum soup

This is a hearty winter recipe made from our very own backyard possums which helps to ward away most forms of stealth communism

Ingredients:

A vegan possum

A dozen tomatoes

A batch of celery

A pint of water

A quart of milk.

Method

Stir in the possum as you pour the water into a vat. Heat until required.

Dice the tomatoes being careful not to slice off your fingers (or toes if using feet).

Combine with possum, celery and milk. Ensure milk heated and of bovine origin.

Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve with tomatoes and roasted fox.

Possum facts - Predator Free NZ

A pre-soup possum unsuccessfully hiding behind a leaf.


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How I got free tickets to Bruce Springsteen 

Ok, I misled you a little with my title.

I haven’t found a secret way of making God, the Universe, or the humans within it give me free tickets to Bruce Springsteen at my whim. I did not do anything specific to make this happen. These tickets were, like many of the other good things in our lives, something I did not ask for, but received anyway. But do I think they were an awesome present from my Heavenly Father? Yes. And why?

Consider this verse:

Whatever is good and perfect comes down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow.

James 1:17.

Think of something that is good and perfect in your life, that brings you joy instead of sorrow, and good instead of evil. What do you have or enjoy that you really love? I can tell you without doubt that it came from your Heavenly Dad. That’s what this verse guarantees us.

Because we live with other humans on this planet, it’s easy to find ‘rational’  explanations for good things in our lives. In this case, my good friend Mike very generously bought me a ticket and flights to go with him to a great concert.

Here we are:

In a worldview without a invariably good Heavenly Dad, Mike and his generosity is the reason I get to go to the concert. And of course, this is true. Mike is very generous, and I can be really grateful for his gift. But this worldview is incomplete. It’s also true that my concert ticket (to ‘The Boss’ no less) was a gift from the Father. What does this mean for you? Well, what if our Father really is the one behind all the good things that occur in our lives?

What if gifts from our Father are not limited to wonderful truths from the Bible, spiritual gifts, miracles of healing, and everything else we neatly categorise as ‘spiritual’? What if these gifts also include your favourite TV show, your favourite romance novel (for the men!), that knitting class you’re taking – heck, everything in your life that brings you delight and joy.

James 1:17 is our internal compass, pointing us towards God’s goodness in our lives. It reminds us God gives us good gifts – whatever they look like and however they come. This also means He is not author of any of the bad stuff in our lives, by the way – although He will use the bad stuff for good!

If you limit God’s generosity in your life to the good things you might receive during a church service on Sunday, then who do you thank for everything else that’s good in every other part of your life? When we take a ‘God-is-only-the-giver-of-awesome-spiritual-things-in-my-life’ point of view, we don’t get to be excited about anything else that really blesses and rejuvenates our hearts. Even more, we’ll put all those other ‘non-spiritual’ things down to luck, fate, or circumstance. Our view of God’s goodness becomes severely restricted and I believe our relationship with him suffers as a consequence. Why would our relationship suffer? Because we don’t think He’s as good as He really is!

I want to keep challenging us to have an expanded view of the goodness of God. To finish off, I’d love to hear of some of the ‘less spiritual’ things you’re thankful for in your life – maybe even some that haven’t shown up yet!


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It’s October 2016. I’ve lost my phone. My iPhone. At a hospital.

Don’t worry, I wasn’t sick. My wife works at the hospital and I had taken my 7 month old boy in for a lunchtime breastfeed.

We were in the visitors room (whanau room as kiwis will know). I had put my phone on the  whanau room coffee table to go to the bathroom. My wife and sons were all in the room with me so I figured it would be safe. Things getting stolen at hospitals? I kind of forgot about that.

I realised it was missing after I returned. I asked my wife to call my number and she got my voicemail. Phone switched off. Bad sign.

There was this other guy in the room too, as it happens, and we politely asked him if he knew where my phone was. No, he didn’t.

So we called the hospital security official who also asked this guy if he had seen my phone. He still hadn’t. The security official asked him for his name and address. No, the guy said. You have no right.

The security official said we could call the police. Was it really worth it? I wasn’t sure, but I called them anyway. Because our suspect was still nearby, a couple of local policeman in the area were happy to come in.

The policemen arrived and asked me a few questions. Because I didn’t actually see the guy take my phone there was no hard evidence, and they could not force a search. The police also found out the suspect’s partner was in a serious condition after giving birth in the maternity ward. That was why he was here in the first place. Understandably, they were even less keen to push the issue.

So everything kind of wound down. The police left and I was resigned to a lack of phone. I wasn’t actually devastated – just a little philosophical – and pondering  the different value systems of people who take things that aren’t theirs. I’m not being sarcastic, by the way – these were genuinely my thoughts.

I also made an effort to bless and pray for this guy in my heart – for his wife’s recovery, and I guess for a breakthrough in his life and circumstances that would make him think differently about stealing. Isn’t it great when God empowers us to think/act/pray like this?

Anyway. Fast forward to February 2017. Four months later. I answer my wife’s phone while we are holidaying at our family bach at Lake Taupo. It’s my wife’s colleague at the hospital. A phone has been found under one of the hospital bed mattresses.  The phone has a picture of my son on the home screen and my wife’s colleague guesses it’s mine. What is my passcode?

I tell her my passcode and the phone unlocks. 

Looks like my guy stashed it there, but didn’t come back to get it for some reason. 

Yes, this is a nice story. Things turn out well for me – I get my iPhone back! But can I suggest it means more for me – and for you. Because I have done away with the idea of coincidences in life, this story shows God is a restorer. He returns and restores things back to us. Yes, even material things. Even iPhones. 

Wouldn’t we do the same for our kids if we had the resources? Isn’t the real issue  believing that God really cares about all aspects of our lives – right down to the stuff we own? 

So. You may not know me that well yet, but I would like you to consider this. Have you lost something physical or material that you want back? Or have you lost something intangible – your marriage, a best friend, your dreams, your joy?

I would LOVE to hear what that something is, and I would love to agree with you for its return. Comment below, or private message if you would rather.

Finally, please share this post if you think it would help someone else you know.

 


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What am I believing?

I’ve been inspired by reading Hebrews recently and what it has to say about faith. I love this great definition from Hebrews 11:1:

Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.

We can have faith for things, like God’s goodness, kindness, and love in our lives. But we can also do things in faith whether big or small. Let’s look at the example of Cain and Abel found in Hebrews 11:4:

‘It was by faith that Abel brought a more acceptable offering than Cain did.’

What does it really mean that Abel brought a more acceptable offering ‘by faith’? What did Abel believe that was different from Cain? I think it was that God would bless him and reward him for his offering. Heresy? Maybe not, when you consider that Hebrews 11:6 says we must ‘believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.’

Abel knew that faith pleased God and actions done in faith brought rewards. When he gave the offering he believed God was real, and that he was the kind of God who would generously reward him for his actions. We don’t always associate our faith with rewards from God but Hebrews clearly says that ‘he rewards those who sincerely seek him.’

Yes, seek him, I hear you say. Isn’t that things like reading the Bible, and setting aside quite time to listen and pray? Yes, seeking God does involve those things, but can’t we also seek him in all things? Abel sought God through an offering he made in his occupation as a farmer and, by faith in God’s goodness, expected a reward. We can do the same as we seek him in all our activities at work, in conversations, reading books, and in every area of life! As we have faith in God’s goodness, we can also expect rewards for our actions!

So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.

– 1 Corinthians 10:31


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You can choose peace…

You know how we get stressed sometimes? You know? I definitely know. Stressed. Wound-up. A tightness in your chest. It’s usually a reaction to what’s going on around you. The most horrible thing about it is that it feels inescapable, inevitable. How could you possibly be near this crying baby and NOT get stressed? How could you listen to someone speaking so disrespectfully to you and NOT get wound up and angry?

But I’ve had this thought the last couple of days. This is my thought… I can choose. More specifically, I can choose peace.

Whether you believe in God or not, I think He is a genius. He’s a genius because He designed us to live in peace – a peace which He knew would protect and guarantee our health and give us a long life! He’ll give peace this peace to whoever wants it, but He won’t override your will. That is, if you’re saying ‘yes’ to stress – probably not realising that you actually CAN say no – he won’t just dump a whole lot of peace on you unasked for. He respects your will and you desires if you want to stay in stress.

So back to my thought. We can choose peace. I feel like I have only just got this. I am powerful to choose the peace that Jesus has promised me in ANY situation. I can stop, take a deep breath and say to myself: I choose peace. I’m going to stay in peace. Don’t believe in Jesus? Well, how are you stress levels going? Have you got anything to lose by opting for a free 10-day trial of His peace? If you just said, ‘I choose your peace, Jesus’ that would kick off your 10-day trial. You don’t even have to TELL anybody!!

And when He honours our ‘I choose peace’ statement in that moment, what happens? It calms you down. Not just in your spirit, and mind, but in your body! It physiologically changes you! Every health problem under the sun is generated by stress. And the peace of the Prince of Peace is the perfect antidote.

Know today that you are powerful to reject stress and choose peace. Keep practicing. Have a go and see what happens.

 


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Experiencing a little deja vu?

You are not making progress.

One of the most compelling lies from the enemy of our souls. 

The lie can settle in any area: your career, your health, your marriage, your church. It’s that sinking feeling that you’re going round the mountain.
I have a solution. We have to put our stock in something Jesus said about himself and about the Father himself:

In his defense Jesus said to them, “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too am working.” – John 5:17

So here’s the thing. You may feel like that you’ve walked this way a thousand times before. You might feel like you’re stuck with this particular annoyance or burden or circumstance or obstacle forever. BUT you’re not. And here’s why. When Jesus was on earth he was always working – translate – ALWAYS doing good. He never stopped. He couldn’t. The Father, too, was always doing good. In fact, they were doing the same thing, weren’t they?

Why does this help you? Because God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spitit are CONTINUALLY working on your problem. Feed your mind on this: YOU ARE MAKING PROGRESS. Just by believing that about God, and by resting in that fact, you invite the solution and the resolution to your problem.

He is working for us ALWAYS.


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The ‘V’ word.

Which could be a few things really, but this week I’m talking about vulnerability.

Ever the Latin scholar that I am, I do know that the word vulernable comes from the Latin vulnare meaning ‘to wound’. So if you are being vulnerable with someone, you literally can be wounded. Make sense?

I’m especially thinking about the idea of vulnerability in the context of our relationship with God, but it’s a pretty handy idea in our relationships with humans (and probably animals, too!).

So last night in bed I was thinking about vulnerability. And i thought to myself, and to God: God, this is what I really NEED from you at the moment…

Sometimes, this type of prayer is viewed as self-centered and demanding. God, give me this, give me that, give me a mercedes etc. But I didn’t want a mercedes, I wanted hope and comfort. And I was being very honest, very vulnerable with God about my need for it. I wasn’t pretending it was all okay, or trying to give God the impression that I was self-sufficient.

Consider the following conversation.

God: What do you need from me today, my son?

Sam: Absolutely nothing, God! I’m self-sufficient!

This kind of conversation is not opening up your heart and letting God see what’s going on for you. You’re keeping God at an arm’s length this way.

My problem was, I somehow equated being really real and transparent with God as somehow lacking faith. But that doesn’t really even make sense. If anything, you have more trust and confidence in someone you are being vulnerable with. You are trusting that, despite what you’re revealing, you’re still safe and your relationship with them will be okay.

So why not give this a spin in your relationship with God? Ask yourself, what one, or three, or five things that are really close to MY HEART could I share with him right now? Try this for a week and then see if your relationship with him feels different!

Ciao for now, siblings.

 


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Living from the Unseen

I have to write this really quick because I have a bottle of Coke to finish off and I can’t get to it while the computer’s on my lap so….. here goes.

I’m reading Living from the Unseen by Wendy Backlund of Bethel Church. She shares her insights on how we actually do this – how we actually live from the Unseen.

So here’s my tip (wholeheartedly stolen from her book!):

Ask your spirit – which is really  your ‘TV aerial’ or receptor in the spirit realm – what it is sensing or seeing in the room you are now in. (By the way, if this seems a bit too weird, there are many references to Jesus discerning stuff ‘in his spirit’ – but you’ll have to find them yourself.)

So I gave this a go, in my living room, about an hour ago.

Results?

I sensed a kind of cool, peaceful pressure in the room (my living room). Really very gentle, not overwhelming and I could have easily dismissed it – and I think most impressions or thoughts in our spirits are like this. We really have to hold our reasoning and intellect in check or our brains quickly talk us out of such ‘flimsy’ impressions.

Anyway, give it a go and let me know how you got on! Surprise yourself!

 

 


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The Kind God

Graham Cooke (http://grahamcooke.com/) is famous (at least in my mind) for repeatedly saying, ‘God is the kindest person I’ve ever met’. The first few times I heard that I caught myself thinking, ‘Really? The kindest person is God?’ As if some other more compassionate and seemingly kind person  such as Mother Teresa might qualify.

We certainly think a lot of things about God, but I’m not sure how often we steep ourselves in the fact that he is kind.  To realise and understand God’s continual kindness towards us though, we really have to start to see things differently. When someone gave you free tickets to your favourite movie we need to see that it wasn’t coincidence – it was God’s kindness towards  you! When your favourite song was playing and lifted your spirits as you walked into the cafe – that too was God’s intentional and specific act of kindness towards you!

Like David did, we need to embrace these things by faith and meditate on the truth that God’s ‘lovingkindness is before [our] eyes…’ (Psalm 26:3) And what is lovingkindness? God’s loyal and consistent love towards us characterised by acts of kindness. 

The cross of Jesus was certainly the ultimate Act of Kindness – but it wasn’t the only one! It made the way for myriads more which we have enjoyed since our day of birth. Need more scripture? James 1:17 says that ‘every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.’

God does not change, and that means these ‘good and perfect gifts’ coming down from heaven, these repeated acts of kindness towards you, will just keep on coming!


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Is my opinion relevant?

A funny thought occurred to me a while ago. The thought was: my opinion of people, situations, and circumstances is not relevant. Seems a rather down-on-myself statement, so what do I mean?

I mean that it’s very easy to keep putting people, situations, and circumstances into little boxes of preconceived expectations in our mind. For example, ‘Oh, Barry’s coming round this afternoon; man, can he talk! Get prepared to smile and nod politely…’

This thought pattern locks me into an earthly mindset, especially about Barry (bless his soul!) and the time I’m going to spend with him. How do I free myself from such restricting thoughts? When I remember to, I say this to God: ‘You know what, God? My opinion about Barry and his talkativeness is not relevant and I forfeit this opinion. My opinion about the value of this time spent with Barry is also not relevant, and I forfeit that as well.’

Having suspended these thoughts in my mind , God is free to introduce his thoughts about Barry and the value of time spent with him. Could this be an exciting way to renew our minds and actually find out what God is thinking?